Learning How To Live

by Michael Shoup

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“Loving life is easy, it’s learning how to live that’s the hardest part”

This record has been a quarter century labor of love for me. Written throughout the last 4 years, it covers relationships good and bad, the frustrations and joys of seeking, losing, and seeking again the things we long for in life, and most importantly for me, the realization that we’re all learning as we go. I’ve lived and re-lived each of these songs countless times, and never knew until we started recording them how much I could learn from my own writing. Songwriting has always been the looking glass I use to see the world, and through the persistent friendship and talent of my Producer, Paul Shearer, we now get to turn that looking glass over to you guys.

What kind of music is it?

I’m a dude and I play guitar, so I’ve heard people say I remind them of John Mayer, Ryan Adams, or a decaffeinated Jason Mraz. Personally I like to think of my music as one part Jackson Browne, one part Hall & Oates, two big scoops of everything I heard from my stereo in the ‘90’s while ignoring my math homework, and a sprinkling of Sesame Street optimism. I learned to play guitar with The Beatles, Tom Petty, and James Taylor. e.e. Cummings showed me that it’s not always what you say, but what you don’t say and how you say it.

My hope through songwriting is to connect with you guys, the readers, listeners, and music participators, in a way that I’ve only touched on so far. To start conversations. To make us ask ourselves the big, and the little questions... and then laugh about them a lot after. So here I am, writing for you, if only because I know there’s nothing else in the world I’d rather be doing. Let's talk.


released November 2, 2010

Produced by Paul Shearer
Mixed by Jeff Pardo and Josh Reynolds
Mastered by Richard Dodd

All songs written by Michael Shoup
except "Dying To Live" and "Bad News" written by Michael Shoup and Paul Shearer


all rights reserved



Michael Shoup Nashville, Tennessee

My mother calls me Michael. My friends call me Shoup.

A Songwriter, Storyteller, Pixel Manipulator, and Entropic Strategist, I make music and tools for others like myself.

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Track Name: Control

I’ve been hiding out
You won’t hear from me
I’ve been finding ways to doubt
Life’s sweet mysteries

But then I see you there
Standing tall before me
Like you’ve done before

How can I be the one to hold you
When I’m barely standing still on my own
I wish that I could just adore you
Instead of living like a man out of control

I see you inside out
And that heart that’s on your sleeve
You saddle up while I bail out
And every time I start to speak

I deceive again
It comes without a warning
On this ride you take me for [so tell me]

Track Name: Dying To Live
Dying To Live

Beep Beep, 6 AM
It’s the same old song and dance
By the time you get to 9
All your dreams don’t stand a chance

One more day and you’re feeling locked in
Your heart clocked out before you even clocked in

Ooh ooh
You tell me that you’re trying just to live
But you’re dying to live a little more
Whoa, Ooh
But Ooh Ooh
You can be anything, you can be everything
So what you waiting for?
Whoa, Ooh
You’re dying to live

Lonely girl in the world
With her mouth around a silver spoon
Mom and Dad and all they had
A little love could not come too soon

18 candles, she can make her
Great escape, if they don’t break her


Doesn’t it tear you up inside?
Doesn’t it leave you wanting more?
You never know until you try
What’s behind that open door

Track Name: Learning How To Live
Learning How To Live

Here I’m standing
In these brand new clothes of mine
Still not understanding
How I never felt more naked than this time
Is foolish hearts or brilliant minds
That keep us putting ourselves up on the line
Just keep telling myself it’s fine
It’s fine

And all I wanna be
Is right in front of me
But all I can see
Is how to live carelessly

So let’s just take it back
To the start
Because lovin’ life was easy
But it’s learning how to live that’s the hardest part
Our we shouting cross the great divide
Just in hopes that something still makes us feel alive
But I’m still alive
And it’s fine


So take it slow
And take heart
Don’t let it overload
Cause learning how to live is the hardest part

Track Name: Salem

Don’t drive too fast
Cause I’m not going anywhere this time
It’s been days since you left
And I can’t get you off my mind

So you count the miles
And I’ll count the minutes
And soon we will know
If our hearts are in this
Cause it’s been so long
Since I felt so right
So just let me hold you tonight
Meet me in Salem

Feelin’ just a little crazy
Thinking that we might be right
Cause everything’s been changing
And now I’ve got God on my side

Every time that I hear
You make me feel so alive
So call me on the phone, baby
And I’ll keep you steady while you drive

Track Name: Working Man
Working Man

Working man under the gun
When will you decide to become someone
Spending all your dead end time
Searching for another social hill to climb

So just use them up while they use you
Cause those little white lies aren’t hard to do, oh no
You want to be candy red, but you’re baby blue
And those little white lies aren’t hard to do, oh no

You lost another year
But what for
You lost another year
Now what’s in store

You taking the time to lose your mind
So everything you know is fake or undefined
Stumble through your day to day
Didn’t plan for your life to end up this way

But you still allow what you don’t do
To make a hole inside of you, oh no
C’mon, where’s the man that you once knew
Gotta find the man that died in you, oh no


All this time you wasted
Well now it’s time you faced it

Track Name: Let Go
Let Go

Battle’s over
I surrender
All my doubts like villains strive
And I’ve been running
Cause I can’t remember
The last time I felt alive

And I know we said
That this would last forever
Wonder when we’ll know that we’re so wrong

I must slow down
Cause you keep running into
Everything I know
You taught me love
You taught me how to grow
But now I gotta learn to let go

I’ve been walking
On this fine line
Between love and about to die
And I could fall to
Either side
Just give me one good reason why

And I know we said
That this would last forever
Wonder when we’ll know that we’re so wrong


Learn to let go
So I can find my way back home
Track Name: NYC

Oh can you say those
City lights a shining
Most the time I wish that I could too
But I can’t complain since
I been life refining
From Chapel Hill to Nashville
Where I met you

But still every now and then
I just hear that city calling so
Please don’t make me choose
Oh cause half my heart’s trapped in
New York City
But the rest of it
I’m holding out for you

I know you don’t need no
Don’t need no money, gold, or diamonds
Ever poor and happy we could be
I’d bring you coffee at midnight
I’ll bring you wine when we’re dining
And if you say the word
I could be down on one knee


Sometimes at night
I hear the subway roar
But you turn on light
And I don’t miss it anymore
Cause you’re at my door

Track Name: Loralie

Oh my love
All it took was time
Well you be what you want
All I am is genuine

I’ve been living off the words that I was fed
From your bed
And the thought that this might
Be more than we said

So tell me those lies
So I can pretend that everything’s alright
Cause it’s gonna take time
To get you off of my mind
So baby
Just tell me sweet lies

Morning comes
And I can’t get to sleep
Every memory
Becomes a melody

How could I have known b
Before we had begun
We’d come undone
And I can’t help thinking
You might be the one.

Track Name: Bad News
Bad News

First part
I knew from the start
It might be smart to just walkaway
But next time
You entered my mind
And I was blind
I’m a moth to your flame

Should have known
My friends said
I’d keep you out of my heart
But not out of my head

But I don’t know what I’m gonna do
I just know you plus me equals bad news
Bad News
I can’t divide what is me from what is you
I just know you plus me equals bad bad
Bad News

Around and around
And I’m up and you’re down
And there’s no end in sight
But you need me to want
Not to love you
But you want to keep it coming all night

Should have known
My friends said
I’d keep you out of my heart
But not out of my bed


Yesterday it was over
But tonight it’s one last time
One last time

Track Name: Last Goodbye
Last Goodbye

Nothing left to say
All my reasons behind me
So you go yours and I’ll go my way

Every step I seem to take
Is further from what we had been
And closer to I’ll start again

So maybe life’s not right
Oh maybe life’s not right
For what this love has got in store
One last goodbye
Oh just one last goodbye
That’s all I waited for
But I’m not anymore

But I keep finding you in a memory
All tied to
Tied to the best pieces of me

I always seem to play the fool
And wind up broken hearted
But I can’t tell just where it started


Everyone keeps telling me
The past is practice
And I just can’t keep killing time
While I get past this

I know, I know, I know
I know, I know